This post is a continuation of my Your Ultimate Guide to Saving Money & Time at the 2015 Milan Expo.
This year’s theme is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” and it runs from May 1st – October 31st.
This is a guide geared towards to deaf visitors to make the most of their time in the Expo and point out which aspects of the Expo are accessible or not accessible for the deaf. This guide might be useful if you have limited time at the Expo and want to know which “deaf-friendly” pavilions to visit. Remember, there are 145 countries represented at the 1.1 million square meter exhibition space!
I congratulate the Expo for putting in some effort to make the expo accessible to the general public and visitors with mobile disabilities, such as multi-lingual subtitles for videos and accessible ramps/entrances. However, not all pavilions were accessible for the deaf.
1. Expo Pavilions with Subtitled Videos:
Some Expo pavilions have subtitled videos in either English/Italian, Italian, English, or none. The countries are:
There are also other pavilions not showing videos as part of their exhibition, OR for those with videos, they can be understood generally without the need for subtitles.
Unfortunately, many pavilions not mentioned in the infographic above do not provide subtitles for their videos, if any, such as Angola, which left me disappointed.
2. Pavilion Expos with Spoken Guides:
Personally, for those Expo pavilions, I would just walk through alone without the guide or avoid them (if you lack the time).
Those pavilions will break people up into groups and a guide will speak and explain to each group in English for each sectioned exhibitions in the pavilion. Not a fan of this approach because I cannot hear and comprehend those guides.
For the pavilions I had visited, the offenders are:
There may be other offenders utilizing this approach, but if you come across one, you know what to do.
3. Interpreted Tours:
With so many offenses going on, it is heartening to see there is an option for a guided tour in sign language.
WayTo Italia is offering a 3 hours guided tour every Thursday for €10 (excluding Expo tickets), including lunch at the Bio-Mediterraneum for €10!
Email [email protected] to make reservations.
The tour is in Italian Sign Language or Lingua dei Segni Italiana (LIS), which means only those with LIS skills will get the most out of this tour. I have not personally used the tour because I was at the Expo from Friday to Sunday, and I did not find out about this tour until after I left Milan.
The Expo offers regular tours in English and Italian for 3 hours for adult price of €20, Under 14 for €12, and Over 65 for €12. But I doubt they have sign language interpreters available for the deaf, other than the one mentioned above.
4. How Can Future Expo Exhibitions Improve Its Accessibility for the Deaf?:
Apparently, a group of deaf people part of Ente Nazionale Sordi (ENS) or Italian Deaf Association had a sit-in protest to protest the lack of deaf accessibility at the Expo. Here’s a news clip of the protest (the only one I can find on the Internet in English!).
Last month, a deaf Italian with his 2 Korean friends were stopped for wearing a black and white t-shirt labeled “No deaf – No Expo” because the staff thought their sign language and t-shirt colors connected them to the Black Bloc, an anarchist group. Link to the news clip.
On the upside, Fanni Weisz, a deaf Hungarian model and activist, was chosen to be one of the representatives of Hungary at the Expo! She clearly uses Hungarian Sign Language in this video and plans to open a bar run by deaf people. I hope we can see more inspiring deaf role models at major international events like the Expo! News Clip (Italiano, English)
5. “Best” Expos to Visit:
I was not able to visit all Expo pavilions within 2 days, so the list below is only a representative of my personal preferences. I liked those Expo pavilions for either their “deaf-friendly” exhibitions, beautiful architectural design, or other intangible factors.
Check out ExpoAdvisor for a list of best (and worst) expos to visit, based on aggregate votes from the website visitors.
It was a hard decision to pick out the best pavilions, but again, these are only my personal preferences!
- Some Expo pavilions have subtitled videos in either English/Italian, Italian, English, or none.
- Some Expo pavilions have spoken guides, which you can either walk through quickly or skip out on (unless you must take a look at its architecture, such as Oman).
- WayTo Italia offers a 3 hours tour every Thursday in Italian Sign Language or Lingua dei Segni Italiana (LIS).
- The Expo needs more improvement in the areas of deaf accessibility.
- My “best” Expo pavilions include “Top Favorites” and “Most Beautiful.”
Have you gone to the Expo yet? Do you have any tips to make the Expo more deaf-accessible? Comment below!